AHEAD 2017: Featured Presentations & Events

Conference Registration

Sonocent First-Timers’ Welcome Breakfast

Wednesday, July 19, 7:30-8:45

Designed as an opportunity for us to welcome for first-time conference attendees, breakfast on Wednesday is a chance for new members to meet other first-timers and seasoned AHEAD members. Come meet others, ask questions, and start developing a network of AHEAD colleagues. Requires pre-registration.

Opening Plenary

Wednesday, July 19, 9:00-10:30 am

AHEAD opens its 40th annual conference with a gathering of all conference attendees. In addition to a welcome from President Jamie Alexrod and the conference planning teams, we’re excited to hear:

Looking Forward: On the cusp of the next 40 years

Stephan Smith, AHEAD Executive Director

image of Stephan J. SmithOver AHEAD’s 40-year history, “disability services in higher education” as a professional field has come into its own. We have seen civil rights laws that underpin students’ access to higher education evolve, technologies that promote opportunity or create barriers develop, disability studies scholarship and disability activism inform our work, and new student populations arrive on our campuses. These changes have prompted a maturity of our field and offer both opportunities and challenges. Join AHEAD’s Executive Director, Stephan Smith, in a brief TED Talk-style look at the next 40 years.

Opening Address

“you are SO brave:” a performance + talk at the margins of disability, trans, & racial justice

Kay Ulanday Barrett

image of Kay Ulanday BarrettThis performance and keynote harnesses political poetic storytelling with elements of spoken word and theatre. Informed by hip-hop and the jazz aesthetic, Kay intimately strips down pretense, and engages love and an examination of the world. As a cultural worker, Kay aims to question notions of desirability, single-issue identity, ableism, and what exactly is mainstream normal. Themes explored during this performance keynote include intersecting identities in struggle with racism, misogyny, cissexism, migration, death/loss, queer love, migration, and disability. Paying homage to audre lorde: “I do not believe in single-issue politics, because we do not live single-issue lives,” avenues of critical intersections as brown, poor, trans, im/migrant, disabled, and “other” are explored. How do competition and respectability politics impose oppression in our actions, our lives? How do we embrace a politic that doesn’t isolate or accommodate, but engages everyday movements to show up for those who are affected & not talked about? This keynote will relay tangible perspectives on ableism as it relates to other isms on a nationwide level from K’s perspectives in Disability Justice.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening & President’s Reception

Wednesday, July 19, 5:30-7:30 pm

Join us for the grand opening of the Exhibit Hall! Attendees will have one-on-one access to over 60 vendors who have an interest in promoting equal access for students with disabilities. Fifteen institutions will showcase their TPSID projects for students with intellectual disabilities. A live local band will provide entertainment, and plenty of hot and cold hor d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available.

Featured Presentations

Wednesday, July 19, 3:30-5:30 & Friday, July 21, 2:00-3:30 pm

Twice during the conference, we’ll highlight popular presentations on important and emerging issues. The following sessions will be offered with minimal competition and in large venues to allow for large audiences:

  • Legal Year in Review, Version 2.0; Paul Grossman & Jo Anne Simon
  • Animals on Campus: Best in Show; Scott Lissner & Irene Bowen
  • From Helpless to Heroic: Exploring disability bias and microaggressions; Amanda Kraus
  • Accessibility 101; Terrill Thompson & Gaier Dietrich
  • OCR Year in Review; Representatives from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights
  • Being There: Attendance modifications & assignment deadlines; Jamie Axelrod
  • Working with Students on the Autism Spectrum; Lisa King & Jane Thierfeld-Brown
  • Socially-Just Disability Awareness Programming; AHEAD’s Standing Committee on Diversity

Writing for the AHEAD Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability

Roger Wessel, Executive Editor, Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED)

Thursday, July 20, 12:45-1:45 pm

Researchers and practitioners in the disability, technology, career and higher education fields, among others, regularly submit manuscripts to the JPED. This session is designed for those who are considering writing articles for the Journal and will include a review of current topics, what the JPED Editorial Board looks for in successful articles and a walk-through of the manuscript submission process.

REDD SIG Reception

Thursday, July 20, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

AHEAD’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Disability (REDD) SIG invites you to an evening of eating, socializing, and community building. All attendees interested in diversity, inclusion, and social justice are welcome to attend. This event is presented in solidarity with the LGBTQA SIG and the Standing Committee on Diversity.

Awards Dinner and 40th Anniversary Celebration!

Friday, July 21, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

AHEAD is excited to celebrate its 40th Annual Conference! In honor of this milestone, we’re changing it up this year. Instead of a luncheon, the Awards Banquet will be an evening dinner followed by music, dancing, drinks, and networking! Expect delicious food and even better company, along with the enjoyment of seeing your disability service colleagues recognized for important accomplishments.


Saturday, July 22, 9 – 11 am

You’ve told us you want more opportunity to network, ask questions, share issues happening on your campuses, and brainstorm solutions during the conference. In response, conference planners are looking forward to introducing you to the concept of the “unconference.”

a loosely structured event emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured program of events.

Beginning with conference registration, all registrants will be asked if they plan to attend the conference on Saturday and, if so, what topics are of the greatest interest to them. Conference Planners will then begin organizing input and identifying those conversations that are most requested. We’ll engage AHEAD leaders and other content experts in facilitating Saturday discussions… and see what happens!!

A strategy used at a growing number of conferences, variations on the unconference are valued for their success in connecting participants, identifying solutions to complex issues, and exploring topics in-depth. We’re excited to bring the concept to AHEAD and use it as a way to cap off a weeks of incredible professional development and connections. We hope you’ll plan to stay for the dinner and anniversary party on Friday night and join us on Saturday morning!